La Milpa, Maya Ruin A Day Trip Out Of Orange Walk, Belize
La Milpa Travel Blog› entry 11 of 11 › view all entries
La Milpa archaeological site is part of the Rio Bravo Conservation Area. The Rio Bravo Conservation Area has more than 250,000 acres of land preserved for research and sustainable use by the Programme for Belize. The Programme for Belize is a private, non-profit, Belize-based organization dedicated to the conservation and management of Belize's natural resources.
More than sixty Mayan sites are currently documented, lie within the lands protected by Programme for Belize. Including in this group of documented sites is the third largest in Belize, La Milpa. La Milpa ranks below Caracol and Lamanai in size. Currently there are eighty-four identified structures at La Milpa. La Milpa is located between the Rio Azul and Lamanai. The name of this site La Milpa, refers to the widespread practice of slash-and-burn farming, a method of agriculture still utilized by present-day Mayans. La Milpa accualy means field.
Most archaeologists believe La Milpa peaked prior to 550 AD during the Classic Period (300 AD to 600 AD). La Milpa appears to have been abandoned prior to 875 AD. The majority of the monumental construction sits atop a limestone ridge that rises 600 feet above sea level. There are three pyramids platforms on the eastern side of the Great Plaza that are over seventy feet in height. Located on the southern side of the plaza is a collapsed stone and masonry structure with carved glyphs indicating that this structure was dedicated to the worship and observation of cosmic events and objects.
La Milpa has suffered from repeated looting events. Numerous remaining stellae have clearly memorialize important events in the lives of the leaders and nobels of La Milpa. There are two large aguadas "resorvoirs" constructed adjacent to the southern edge of the Great Plaza. These aguadas are more vthan 6.5 deep and each would hold more than 1,500,000 gallons of water. There is a third aguada located beyond the southwestern edge of the ridge that currently hold water. It is thought the these aguadas were constructe prior to 500 AD.
La Milpa can be reached via the road to Chan Chich. Guided tours are available through Programme for Belize's field station.